Tributes flow for pilot
PETER Frith died doing what he loved.
The avid aviator was killed when the sea plane he was travelling in plunged into the water near Jindabyne in New South Wales just after 11am on Friday morning.
At the weekend the local aviation and Allora communities rallied around his wife Jan and daughter Jodie.
One of Mr Frith's closest friends and fellow aviator, Kelvin Hutchinson, said everyone was in shock.
“I spent time with him nearly every day at the airfield,” he said.
“He had a true love of flying – it was his passion.”
“He had three aircraft. They were his ultimate toys. He just loved every single minute he was flying.”
Mr Hutchinson said despite only having lived in Allora for the past three years, Mr Frith had contributed a great deal to local aviation and the community.
“In that time he has become a big part of the community,” he said.
He described Mr Frith as a generous and remarkable guy.
“I have flown with him many times. I flew with him just last week,” he said.
“We went on holidays together, me and my wife and him and his wife, we were in Perth together just a few weeks ago.”
He said Mr Frith spent about 20 years in the army before moving to Brisbane to start his own business.
“It was his dream to be in the air force but because of his eyesight he couldn't get in,” he said.
“So he went to Duntroon where he progressed very successfully to a rank as a major.
“He was an entrepreneur and a very resourceful guy.”
Mr Frith retired at the age of 55 so he could dedicate time to his passion for flying.
“Then he moved out to Allora about three years ago to enjoy his flying even more,” Mr Hutchinson said.
“It was always his dream to fly; he just had it in him.”
He said the flying community and the town of Allora were still reeling from the news.
“Everyone is absolutely shocked, but his wife Jan and daughter Jodie have a lot of support from the Allora community and the aviation community,” he said.
Another man also died when the aircraft went down.
Mr Hutchinson said both men in the sea plane were highly skilled pilots.
“The investigations are still ongoing as to who was flying and why it happened,” he said.
Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Ron Bellingham, also an aviation enthusiast, said it was a sad time for the entire industry.
“Peter contributed greatly to the aviation industry. It's just very hard when it's accidental and unexplained as to what happened,” Cr Bellingham said. “The whole industry is devastated.
“I am saddened by the whole episode and I just feel for his whole family and for the Allora community.”